Following reports in the Spanish
media about suspicions of irregularities or
fraud in the matter of the European subsidies
paid for the production of flax, on 7 June 1999,
the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) contacted
the appropriate Spanish authorities. Following
this contact, the Spanish Fiscalia Anti-Corrupcion
opened an inquiry in the matter.
In parallel with this national
inquiry OLAF had opened his own administrative
inquiry into this matter.
Yesterday, 19 December 2000,
OLAF received a copy of the report containing
the conclusions of the inquiry by the Spanish
fiscalia Anti-Corrupcion in the matter. The
preliminary OLAF findings already communicated
to Spain reflect those now reported by the Fiscalia
Anti-Corrupcion received in its final report.
The final OLAF report will
be concluded as soon as final subsidy details
and other data, recently received from FEGA
(Spanish Agricultural Payment Agency), is analysed
and compared with the elements found during
the OLAF controls in the three Autonomous Communities
of Extremadura, Castilla-La-Mancha and Castilla
y Leon. These will be communicated to and discussed
with the Spanish authorities and other Commission
services concerned in due course. It is expected
that this will occur early in the new year.
This press release has been
prepared following numerous reports on the subject
in the Spanish media in recent days which did
not originate with OLAF. The press release is
intended to clarify the matter from the OLAF
perspective and to avoid possible misunderstandings.
OLAF wishes to make it clear
that information obtained in the course of external
investigations falling within the competence
of the national judicial authorities is protected
by the provisions relating to judicial secrecy.
It follows that any comment
by OLAF about investigations covered by judicial
secrecy of the judicial authorities of the Member
States would be a breach of the law by the European
Mr Alessandro Butticé
Spokesman of the European Anti-fraud Office
Tel : +32 (0)2 296.5425
Fax : +32 (0)2 299.8101